Feature: Blogging Google

Dear Google, I Am Human

Author: Irina Shamaeva
Published: June 06, 2010 at 9:21 am


I love advanced Google search capabilities, use them in my sourcing and recruiting business as well as teach others how to leverage the service in various blog posts and webinars.

However, lately my colleagues and I have been repeatedly blocked by Google search with the message that we are sending “automated queries”. No, I am not sending automated queries; I can’t even type very fast.

All I do is use search operators (intitle:, inurl:), asterisk (*), and set the number of results to 100 per page; so why is that suspicious? A friend, who does advanced searches, tells us that he blocks all of his office. Attendees of my webinars can’t reproduce the search string examples that we study without being blocked. Google starts off with a few requests to enter “captchas” and then blocks us completely. (Yes, yes, I know that waiting, or clearing cookies, or rebooting your connection helps for a while.)

My colleagues and I are not alone in this either: search for Google “I am human” or for Google captchas on blogs and discussion boards to see dozens of similar complaints.

What is going on?

I am human

About a month ago, when this started happening a lot, I wrote to a friend who is a Developer at Google, and he forwarded a message from another Developer – one of those responsible for the automated query detection.

Take a look at the response to my question below.

The plea: Dear Google: I am Human! I love Google search and would like to continue using it. Please make it usable for us again.

"[Quote from a Developer] as far as our abuse-detection is concerned: the traffic is not normal, but rather comes in very quickly.  Overall, we want to support users who are using search casually (to find information) not to support businesses (which is effectively her use-case).

I think she has three options: 

- work more slowly so she doesn't trigger our abuse rules 

- become a "partner" and pay for her searches 

- use another search engine which doesn't have these restrictions 

Our abuse rules do evolve over time, so things may get better or worse for her over time."

I am not sure what to say…Does the Google management share this attitude? Why is the algorithm so incapable of detecting humans vs. automated queries? Apart from that, is Google not supposed to support businesses? What is “pay for searches”?

Google, are you listening? Anyone else have these issues? 


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Article Author: Irina Shamaeva

Irina Shamaeva is an Executive Recruiter, Expert Internet Sourcer, and Partner at Brain Gain Recruiting, an executive search firm that specializes in placing senior level software development, IT, and strategy consulting candidates nationwide. …

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